20 January 2013

Uganda: Ex-Minister Suruma Advises On Oil Money for Pensions

Former minister of finance Dr. Ezra Suruma has advised that Government should consider allocating money from oil revenue, to strengthen the national welfare system with pensions, and universal health insurance to improve the lives of Ugandans.

He said that the oil revenues, if well-handled can lead to improvement the lives of Ugandans, which will pave way for a more civilized society that treats its citizens humanely.

Suruma observed that an effective pensions system will guarantee Ugandan workers a future upon retirement.

However, with the current uncertainly about the future, public officials are involved in corruption, the former minister said.

"With social security, a good job, a person is less inclined to jeopardize their job by stealing. And it may be possible to consider pensions for older people, the disabled, the sick and children. With the oil being a gift from God, we need to cultivate a more humane and just society."

Suruma said that with more oil revenue, Ugandans are assured of better standards of living, cheaper capital for borrowing to increase investment and create employment.

Dr. Suruma who is also a senior presidential advisor for finance and planning will next week deliver a keynote address on the Political Economy of Oil at the African Bible University (ABU) in Lubowa, off Entebbe Road.

The lecture will be delivered as part of the African Bible University's one-week certificate course on the moral imperatives of handling the oil resource and how it can be used to benefit all Ugandans.

Suruma also said that while there is a public demand for transparency in the Government about oil, people should also demand for transparency from the oil exploration companies.

He said NGOs should also be open because they can be corrupted.

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